I’m beginning to wonder if part of President Trump’s overall strategy doesn’t involve feeding so many headlines to the media and causing such a continuing series of conflagrations among his critics that they eventually either give up in despair or their heads collectively explode. It’s sort of similar to one of those science fiction films where the artificially intelligent computer is causing problems and the scientists feed it so much information that its circuits blow. The dust wasn’t even close to settling on the ban on people arriving from various nations when the President was back in his office signing off on three more items of business.
Politico reports that these are also wide ranging, with the potential in at least one instance to spell big changes on the horizon.
President Donald Trump on Saturday signed three new executive actions to reorganize the National Security Council, impose a five-year ban on lobbying for administration appointees and a lifetime ban on lobbying the government for other countries, and order the Department of Defense to come up with a plan within 30 days to defeat ISIS.
It was unclear if the actions were officially executive orders. He was surrounded by aides including senior advisers Kellyanne Conway and Steve Bannon, and White House Counselor Don McGahn.
In no particular order, all of these will have some long range effects. The lobbying ban is just the fulfillment of yet another campaign promise he made as part of draining the swamp. The five year ban applying to administration appointees isn’t terribly controversial, but any sort of lifetime ban may be tough to enforce once he leaves office. The reorganization of the NSC doesn’t have enough details yet to say exactly what will be impacted but it’s heartening to see that there will be more of a focus on digital threats. It’s an area where we remain woefully behind the curve (as the DNC could surely tell you).
The big question which will keep everyone busy very soon is is call for a plan to destroy ISIS which must be delivered to him in the next 30 days. While I have no doubt of his sincerity, that’s a tough nut to crack because it will bring up all sorts of unpleasant memories around the country. How exactly do we “destroy” the terror group short of actually going in and taking them out in a very intimate fashion? Bombing them out of existence hasn’t worked for anyone else, so will this plan call for significant troops on foreign soil? And where will they be attacking from? We’re not exactly as popular in Iraq as we used to be at the moment and Syria is a mess. Turkey is “complicated” at best, and ISIS would need to be chased down across multiple borders to completely finish the job. (And that doesn’t begin to touch on the ones who scatter to the winds.)
And is America ready for that sort of investment right now? Nobody is arguing the barbaric nature of ISIS or the fact that they’ve got it coming, but have we really gotten over the collective exhaustion with war which largely spurred Barack Obama’s initial victories? If the President has a major military excursion in mind it might be a tough sell and I’ll be watching carefully to see how he plans on tackling this one.